Fantasy Football: Fix your brain, start DeSean Jackson

Bucs DeSean Jackson

This week I am continuing my weekly column to fix one of your biggest fantasy football challenges, your brain and I suggest you start DeSean Jackson. I will also examine my picks from last week and present my tough choices for week six. Fantasy football players usually spend a lot of time dwelling over one close decision. There are few reasons why I think this is a classic mistake.

In my view, you should be using your brain to think about challenging some of your assumptions elsewhere in your lineup and not draining it on one decision with a small difference in player projections. I suggest the following approach. Early in the week, set your lineup right away. Don’t overanalyze, just go with your gut.  During the middle of the week, read up on research and articles here at and elsewhere. Thursday, you clearly need to check your Thursday night players and make your decisions early on those players.

Then late in the week, on Saturday or Sunday, revisit your lineups with the latest injury and analysis information from your mid-week reading. Make your decisions on your tough calls that were on your brain. This way you aren’t spending all week thinking about it. That switch on your brain is really hard to turn off. I suggest you also think about the “easy” decisions you made and challenge them. 

Let’s briefly review my choices from week five.

Zach Miller over Jesse James – CORRECT, NOT a factor

Jared Goff over Jacoby Brissett – INCORRECT, WAS a factor

Zach Miller had 13 PPR points to Jesse James five points, but it didn’t matter because I actually crushed my opponent in that league. The Jared Goff call was wrong, no other way to put it. I thought at home he could get by for low end starter numbers. That did not happen, lesson learned. 

This brings my total up to 11 tough decisions, and so far only three of those have actually mattered in the weekly matchups. It is worth pointing out that if your leagues value total points scored for the season in any way, or pays out for weekly high scores, some of these “Not a factor” decisions could end up mattering for you. For this column, I am strictly looking at these decisions on a weekly head to head matchup basis. He screamed from the hilltops, Fantasy Football is a weekly game.

Browns Duke Johnson

Ken Blaze – USA TODAY Sports

My week six tough choices: 

DeSean Jackson vs. Emmanuel Sanders

Lamar Miller vs. Duke Johnson

One of my close projection choices is between DeSean Jackson and Emmanuel Sanders. The first stop for my fantasy football decisions is always Vegas odds and projected team totals. As PFF’s Pat Thorman tweeted out this morning, projected team totals show the following:

Also the Buccaneers and Cardinals matchup currently has a 45 point projected total with TB favored by two, per ESPN. That works out to a projected total for Tampa Bay of 23.5 points. Whereas, as Pat’s tweet shows, Denver is projected for 25. It is important to note the opposition’s projections when thinking about possible game flow and its impact on fantasy football. Denver’s opponent is the hapless New York Football Giants and they are currently projected for only 13.5 points. Tampa Bay is projected to be in a close battle with Arizona projecting for 21.5 points. All of that is just an indicator, but anyone who has watched the Giants knows their offense is in shambles with Odell Beckham Jr out and multiple other wide receivers being out. They have major running back woes as well and the team seems to be collapsing completely.

Translating all that to the Denver Broncos’ offensive outlook, it looks like they will crush the Giants at home. With a stifling defense and a strong run game, it does not look like a heavy passing day for the Trevor Siemian lead Broncos. He might throw 20 passes, maybe less. This is a situation where Vegas is screaming at fantasy footballers to bench all parts of the Broncos passing offense. The Buccaneers look like they should have a close matchup with the Cardinals. That would theoretically force them to have a pretty balanced attack. As I mentioned in previous columns, I am concerned a bit about Jameis Winston’s coaching or usage. But in this choice, I am picking DeSean Jackson over Emmanuel Sanders.

My second close choice is between starting Lamar Miller or Duke Johnson. This is an interesting fantasy football call for a few reasons. The Texans and the Browns play each other this week. The teams have drastically different Vegas projected totals. The Texans are projected to score a lot and the Browns are projected to score very little. The Browns have been solid against the run but really weak against the pass. The Texans meanwhile are missing two of their OLB’s including the superstar J.J. Watt. 

The Browns offense had been a turnover machine and so is now using Kevin Hogan as their starting quarterback. Duke Johnson’s usage has been really good especially as a receiver. His usage is such that even in a bad game script for normal running backs, he is in a good place as basically a wide receiver. The Browns should be losing for the majority of this game and quite possibly by a large margin. Therefore, you would expect them to be throwing a lot. In PPR leagues, Duke Johnson would be the preferred play for me. Ideally you would like to have these players in a best ball format, but I have them in a standard scoring format. Lamar Miller projects to get heavy usage in the second half as the Texans should be playing with a lead. Add in his higher touchdown probability and I am rolling with Lamar Miller over Duke Johnson, for now. Good luck in your leagues, and thank you for reading.


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